At 31, Ali Sheridan has studied and worked in different areas of sustainability across a range of industries over the last 10 years both in Ireland and abroad. She’s currently on maternity leave from her role as Sustainability Development Manager and has been focusing on her sustainability focused blog, PurposeHub. “I’ve seen how awareness and interest in conscious consumption and sustainability has rapidly increased so I created PurposeHub to showcase all the great things that are happening in sustainability in Ireland and beyond – and there are A LOT!
She’s a self confessed,recovering fast fashion addict
“During my college years I worked in retail and became a little bit obsessed with clothes and fashion. I gave very little attention to the stories behind my clothes, I was much more focused on value and trends. Through my work I became more aware of the negative impacts of fast fashion and gradually began to move away from buying all my clothes on the high street. A big nudge for me was watching The True Cost – it’s not an easy film to watch but one I think everyone should see”.
“I have started to shift my focus from quantity to quality and nowadays I try to shop with more purpose. I do a lot more research of brands before I buy from them and try to buy pieces I can wear over and over and that I can layer through the seasons. I also buy preloved from eBay and charity shops”.
She’s a lover of sustainable brands
“Luckily there is so much more choice these days when it comes to sustainable brands. Some of my favourites are People Tree, Everlane, Thought and Reformation. There are also some brilliant Irish sustainable brands that I love including Mamukko, Grown and We Are Islanders. I still buy some clothes from the high street but try to get items that I will wear over and over. A few brands have also launched sustainable collections, like the H&M Conscious Collection or Zara Life collection. While these don’t fully address the issue of fast fashion, I think it’s positive to see brands move in the right direction”.
We asked Ali to come along to the photoshoot in her favourite pieces that she’s been using for the #stiallchallenge
“This outfit pretty much sums up my approach to style at the moment. It’s a mix of sustainable labels and high street, colours and patterns, and structure and comfort. The top is from Topshop and is one of the few maternity bits I bought. In my experience, stylish,
sustainable maternity clothes are not easy to find but I really liked the cut and pattern of this top and have got lots of wear out of it. The jacket is from Thought and made from hemp. I think everyone thinks hemp is really bland and boring (and sometimes it can be!) but I love this jacket. It’s a beautiful colour, light and a great way to add a bit of structure to an outfit. The trousers are from YAS and have been a wardrobe staple for me for about 2 years now. Because they’re high waisted, they are great for work and going out and can be paired really easily with lots of different clothes”
Ali’s shoes are made from Pineapples!
The shoes are a little bit quirky. They are from PoZu, a company creating beautiful shoes from sustainable materials. These ones are made from a material called Pinatex, which is a leather- substitute material made from pineapple leaf fibres. I love the gold tip and they are so comfortable and well able to survive the Irish weather!
30 days and 30 items for the #stiallchallenge, how was it for Ali..
“The challenge has been a little bit of a rollercoaster. In the beginning, it was easy enough as 30 items seemed like a lot of choice. However, as the days went on, the challenge got harder as I tried to decide what to wear while taking into account the Irish weather, what I was doing that day and making sure clothes were out of the wash on time! As the end of the challenge nears, it has become refreshingly simple to pull together outfits from a limited selection of clothes – perfect when you have a new-born at home! However, some days I do struggle with the limited choice.”
“For someone who has been trying to move towards a more sustainable wardrobe I still have way too much stuff – and a lot of patterned tops! However, the challenge has pushed me to be more creative with my outfits and made me realise the different ways I can wear and pair up the clothes I already own. I’ve also recognised that not all my favourite pieces work together as well as they could and that I could work better at trying to create versatile outfits rather than buying one off pieces that I can rarely wear.
Ali plans on a wardrobe re-assessment
“Yes definitely. Firstly, I need to do a deep dive on my wardrobe to discover what I already own and different ways to wear them. I’m also going to look at having some existing clothes altered to make them fit better or change them into new pieces and have signed up to do a course in Grafton Academy to learn some alteration skills which is something I never learnt in school. For more formal events like weddings I’m going to explore renting clothes. Luckily there are a lot more rent options coming to the Irish market like Sustainsister and Nu. Overall, I’m going to try focus on building up a wardrobe of key pieces and shop for quality, not
quantity, and support sustainable brands as much as possible”.
Photography: David Gannon
With special thanks to The Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin